Define Garage Jurisdiction

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"Garage jurisdiction" is a term used in Virginia to identify the town, city or county where a motor vehicle is kept. Garage jurisdiction has important tax implications.

Taxes

Virginia levies a "personal property tax" on vehicles. These taxes are collected by towns, cities and counties, and different areas can have different tax rates.

Garaging

Taxes are assessed based not on where a vehicle is registered, but where it is "garaged"--that is, where it is kept and maintained most of the time.

Purpose

"Garage jurisdiction" is designed to prevent people from registering vehicles somewhere else in order to avoid a higher tax in their home jurisdiction. For example, an Alexandria resident might try to register her car at her parents' home in Stafford County, which has lower taxes.

Coverage

Personal property tax can be assessed on all vehicles garaged in the jurisdiction, including those registered in other states and inoperable vehicles

Identification

Many jurisdictions issue their residents windshield decals to indicate that the cars have been registered and the taxes have been paid. This helps police and tax enforcement officials identify cars that may be garaged illegally.